- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 12, 2022

Some Walgreens customers are giving the pharmacy chain’s new high-tech fridges and freezers a frosty reception on social media.

The traditional clear doors in the freezer section of some Walgreens stores have been replaced with digital-screen doors developed by Cooler Screens, a Chicago-based startup.

“Who on God’s green earth thought this was a good idea?” asked one TikTok user, pointing to a Walgreens refrigerator display.

While the displays show the logos of the products in the coolers, they also display advertising.

“The digital cooler screens at Walgreens made me watch an ad before it allowed me to know which door held the frozen pizzas,” one user complained on Twitter.

Other social media users said the displays can be misleading. One TikTok user posted a video complaining that while the display showed an image of a fully-stocked fridge, when she opened the door the shelves were bare.

Cooler Screens CEO Arsen Avakian told CNN that the system allows consumers to walk out of the store with their product while also being informed about where to get additional product information online.

What’s more, according to Cooler Screens, its technology is part of a “retail media network” that benefits retailers, who get a cut of the advertising revenue.

“Retailers were obsessed about digital transformation, and we gave them something specific and tangible that solved a real consumer problem and was also bringing them real business benefits,” Mr. Avakian told CNN.

According to the company, Cooler Screens has about 10,000 units in several major retailers across the country, including Kroger, CVS, and Chevron gas stations.

• Peter Santo can be reached at psanto@washingtontimes.com.

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